JACKSON—This weekend, Six Flags Great Adventure introduces a new species to its theme park, Asian small-clawed otters. The litter of six otter pups, just two months old, consists of two males—Jackson and Baxter— and four females – Cali, Roxi, Pearl and Sushi. Currently weighing less than a pound each, Asian small-clawed otters rank as the smallest otter species in the world, and will reach approximately ten pounds when fully grown.
In the wild, these otters can be found in fresh water rivers, estuaries, swamps and lakes in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and other Southeast Asian countries. However, due to hunting, pollution and destruction of their natural habitat, this species is considered vulnerable and is protected by the Species Survival Plan.
Currently, the pups receive bottle feedings every four-to-six hours. “Raising otter pups is just like raising children,” said Dave Peranteau, supervisor of animal training at Six Flags. “They love to sleep in our arms. They’re such cuddlebugs.” The otters reside in the theme park’s Safari Discoveries section, an interactive animal area. As the pups grow, guests can watch them learn to swim this fall in the Seafari Theater’s underwater viewing pool.
“Otters are highly social animals and extremely intelligent,” Peranteau said. “We hope that their interaction with our guests will help raise awareness for the plight of their species.”
For more information, visit www.sixflags.com/greatadventure.